You can usually take care of a flat tire with a simple call to a tow truck, a mechanic, or a roadside assistance company in today’s world. However, what if you are outside of cell service? What if you could fix your flat tire rather than waiting hours and paying for help? Knowing how to repair your tire can not only get you back on the road faster, but it can also help you out of a sticky situation if you cannot immediately reach help.
The most common issue that can halt your travels is a flat tire. A flat tire for reasons like; low tire pressure, a small puncture, a hole in the tread, or an overabundance of air that causes your tire to blow.
You should check your tire pressure monitor and tire tread regularly to avoid a mishap. However, a puncture is nearly impossible to predict or prevent. Therefore, it is essential to know that there are steps in flat tire fixes so you can take to prepare yourself for when your tire goes out.
How Do I Change My Tire?
Most of us have experienced that fateful jerk of our vehicle or the loud flapping noise a tire makes against the asphalt to indicate a flat, but not all of us know what to do when it happens. Being prepared for the event of a flat tire can save you time and money. In addition, the knowledge of flat tire fixes can be especially beneficial for young people and is part of safety resources for teen drivers.
1. Pull Over to a Safe Location
Once you realize that you have a flat tire, the first step is to find a safe and secure place to pull over. It is best to try and get out of the flow of traffic, if possible. Once you have made it to the shoulder, you can safely exit your vehicle and gather the needed equipment.
When changing a flat tire, you’ll need the following tools:
- Spare tire
- Lug nut wrench
- Wheel wedges
- Tire repair kit (to patch a flat fire)
- Flare or reflective triangles
- Work gloves
Always keep these tools in your car.
2. Jack up Your Car
The first step is using your car jack to raise your tire a little off the ground so that you can easily remove your flat tire. Drivers should note that a car jack can’t be stored anywhere under the vehicle. If you have never used a car jack before or have never used one on your car, you might want to check your car’s user manual. The user manual will tell you the safest place to lift your vehicle with the jack.
3. Loosen Lug Nuts
You will want to remove the tire’s hubcap to get to the lug nuts. Using the lug wrench, you can loosen the lug nuts used to secure the wheel tightly to your car. Make sure not to remove the lug nuts altogether yet.
4. Remove the Flat Tire
Once your car is safely jacked up, and you are ready to make the tire switch, remove the lug nuts. Once removed, you can simply slide the flat tire off the vehicle, leaving room for the spare tire to be attached. Always be sure to put the old tire in your car after all flat tire fixes. Leaving a tire on the side of the road is littering and a risk to other drivers.
5. Attach a Spare Tire
When attaching the spare tire, line it up correctly with the empty lug nut holes. While holding the tire in place, reattach the lug nuts one by one. Ensure that you have tightened the lug nuts well and that they are secured after replacing your tire.
Spin each one with your wrench until you feel resistance, then you will know that the new tire is safely attached to the car. You can also check the air pressure to make sure you don’t need to inflate the tire.
6. Lower the Vehicle and Car Jack
After you have correctly attached the new or spare tire, you can lower the car jack. Doing this will put the car’s weight back onto the tire. Once this last action has been completed, you have gained a new life skill and can replace your tire whenever a flat may occur.
What If I Still Require Assistance With My Tire?
If you have a flat tire and find yourself unable to rectify your problem thoroughly, several other options are available. First off, you can make a call to a towing company. A tow truck can give you and your car a lift to the closest mechanic, where they will be able to repair your tire there.
Also, if you are unsure about changing a tire yourself, investing in a roadside assistance program may be a good idea. Roadside assistance can drive to you and change the tire out for you, getting you back on the road without a mechanic. However, towing and roadside assistance cost money, and changing the flat yourself is free and does not leave you waiting for help. Learning how to change your tire is a part of driving safely in San Diego.